Patrick’s Barn: Tying Up Loose Ends
Every year about this time, I get a little anxious. Shorter days and yellowing crabgrass remind me that fall is just around the corner. Fall isn’t really the problem. My annual anxiety is because I’ve put off painting some part of the house that I said I’d get to months earlier.
This year instead of burying my head in my homestead’s sandy soil, I decided to hunker down and get the painting done before cold temperatures and short days would be a problem. This weekend, I painted our home’s front door and I finished cutting in and painting the remaining parts of the barn that I couldn’t roll.
Likley, the last big push before cold weather, will be siting, grading and planting the rain garden that we agreed to as part of our barn’s building permit. Our home and new barn is close to a small stream, so the town asked that don’t contribute to erosion problems with our new barn’s roof water.
The engineer we hired to help with permitting, designed a series of buried concrete infiltrators that would recieve the barn’s roof water by means of gutters and underground pipes. The concrete infiltrators would hold and slowly release the water into the soil in a controlled manner. The whole plan seemed counterintuitive when we heard about it, so my wife who’s an avid gardener, suggested a rain garden instead. Unfortunately, the engineer admitted having no experience with rain gardens, so we reluctantly agreed to the concrete boxes just to keep things moving along.
In subsequent weeks, while we framed the barn’s shell, my wife researched rain gardens and presented an alternate plan to the town. She drew up a design, based on the square footage of our barn’s roof and selected appropriate native plants. The town not only agreed, they seemed pleased at the prospect of somebody using roof runoff as a resource, instead of an engineering problem. I’ve asked my wife Carol to help me tell this part of the story in the coming weeks.
You can read more about my barn here.
This is the first year in memory I've painted a structure when it's warm enough to not worry about leaving the building open or cold temps affecting the paint.
While my wife has been busting sod, our little boy has been amusing himself in the new bare ground. Here, he's fusing a "dirt bomb." It's great to see him having so much fun getting dirty.
This is the start of our first rain garden. Another one is planned for the barn's other side. My wife is stripping the sod and putting it on the downslope side as a berm. Ultimately, the garden will be planted with native species that like getting wet.
This fussy little element above the fake sliding doors doesn't really do anything. It's meant to look like the trim that protects the sliding-door hardware. It's a common setup on old barns. I love the way it looks, but I'm sure it's added hours to the barn's construction.